Private ownership of marsh crocodiles outlawed

July 9, 2019 - 21:24

TEHRAN – Iran has banned the private ownership of marsh crocodiles and any violators would be fined or imprisoned, Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

The mugger crocodile, also called marsh crocodile is a crocodilian native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. It is extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982.

Following a TV series first aired June 8, called “Gando”, the species’ Persian name, which was centering on spy issues, a mugger crocodile was displayed in the series, which is said to provoke people’s feeling for keeping one.

The main habitats of muggers in Iran is mostly along rivers in Chabahar and Sarbaz cities of Sistan-Baluchestan province, southeastern part of the country.

Asghar Mobaraki, a herpetologist said that the two main habitats of the species are defined as protected areas which are under the Department of Environment’s supervision.

Referring to their population distribution in southern part of the province, he noted that currently, some 500 marsh crocodiles are living in different regions of the country.

The main reason behind their being endangered is habitat fragmentation, in some cases, the habitat of this species is depleted by not providing the water rights of the dams, he explained.

According to the law, any keeping of wildlife in private places without official permits is considered as crime, and criminals will be punished, he highlighted.

He went on to say that private ownership of wildlife species even on the TV screen has a negative training aspect, adding, when wild species are shown in such programs, it raises people’s enthusiasm toward petting such species.

So, this is not a good idea to use animals in the movies, especially endangered ones, he concluded.

Hamid Zohrabi, deputy environment chief for natural environment and biodiversity directorate said in September 2018 that regarding the latest condition of the marsh crocodile in the country, fortunately, the population of this species is increasing, and a captive breeding center has been launched in this regard.